Coetzer and Mommsen Shine as Scotland Ease Past UAE

Scotland 327-5 (KJ Coetzer 127, PL Mommsen 111*, M Shahzad 3 for 51) beat United Arab Emirates 229 (R Mustafa 43, AC Evans 4 for 41) by 98 runs.

After Netherlands crushed Nepal by seven wickets on Saturday to consolidate their place at the top of the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship, Scotland took the opportunity to move up to third in the table with victory over United Arab Emirates at The Grange in Edinburgh. Both Kyle Coetzer and Preston Mommsen scored their first centuries on home soil as Scotland’s 327-5 proved to be beyond the Emirates batsmen as UAE could only muster 229 in reply.

Having lost their Intercontinental Cup fixture to the weather both sides were relieved to see a dry, if not warm, day in Edinburgh. Scotland went into the match having chosen to leave out Chris Sole and, as against Afghanistan, Mark Watt, whilst for UAE Fayyaz Ahmed and Yodhin Punja missed out from their fourteen-man squad.

Having been put into bat Kyle Coetzer and Craig Wallace got Scotland away to a positive start with some powerful stroke-making and inconsistent bowling helping the openers score at around a run a ball for the opening overs. Coetzer looked in fine touch from the off, putting down a marker in the first over with consecutive boundaries off Muhammad Naveed then continuing to quickly accumulate runs, another well-timed boundary bringing up Scotland’s fifty in the eighth over. That he brought up his own fifty six balls later, within a Krishnachandran Karate over that cost seventeen, was a measure of Coetzer’s total dominance of the early part of the innings.

At the other end Wallace, having survived a bad drop on the boundary by Muhammad Shahzad first ball then a confident LBW shout the next, was leading a charmed life, and it was little surprise when his became the first wicket to fall, Amjad Javed completing a simple catch off Ahmed Raza to leave Scotland 78-1 in the tenth over.

Wallace’s departure for 16 brought Calum MacLeod to the crease and with spinners operating from both ends the scoring rate was checked as both batsmen found the ball difficult to get away. MacLeod (20) was out in the twentieth over, mistiming to prod a catch back to Raza to give the bowler his second wicket. The slow left-armer, bowling unchanged, continued to frustrate the Scotland batsmen, and he was to be denied a third wicket in his next over in scarcely believable circumstances, Naveed grassing the simplest of chances as Coetzer top-edged an attempted sweep to fine leg when on 73.

The reintroduction of Naveed’s seam in the twenty-ninth loosened the shackles, however, as Coetzer broke his run of 26 consecutive singles with a first boundary since the ninth over. Joined by Preston Mommsen the run-rate began to increase again as the UAE seamers struggled with length and line, and in the thirty-third Coetzer brought up his third ODI hundred in fine style, driving the hapless Naveed through extra cover for a twelfth boundary.

It was a beautifully judged innings from Coetzer. Presented with pace on the ball he was imperious, seizing on anything short or wide of off-stump as UAE looked increasingly deflated in the field, and when he eventually fell for a 121-ball 127, to a juggling Shaiman Anwar off the bowling of Shahzad, he had given Scotland the momentum to continue where he had just left off.

Mommsen had proved to be the ideal foil for Coetzer, the two putting on 112 for the third wicket with the Scotland captain reaching his own fifty in the thirty-eighth, and after Coetzer and then Leask had departed he and Richie Berrington pushed Scotland’s score onwards. The returning Javed proved to be expensive, his figures not helped by more sloppiness in the field, and Berrington duly took Scotland over 300 in the forty-eighth over with a six over long-on. It was to be Mommsen who would have the final word, however, bringing up his hundred with a leg-side glance for two off Rohan Mustafa before ending the innings unbeaten on 111.

Statistically it was a day of seconds – Mommsen’s hundred was his second in ODIs and his second against the same opposition. It was, after Gavin Hamilton and Fraser Watts against Canada in 2009, the second time Scotland have featured two centurions in the same innings. But, most significantly, Scotland’s final total of 327-5 was their second highest ever in internationals. It would take some chasing.

Spin had proven to be effective during the first innings – raising questions as to that decision to leave out Watt, perhaps – and Scotland chose to open with two overs of spin from Michael Leask. After a tidy first over, then a second featuring a huge six from Mustafa, he made way at the Nursery End for Safyaan Sharif, who opened with two good shouts for LBW.

But on a good pitch the ball coming on to the bat again proved to be to the liking of the batsmen, however, as the UAE openers matched their opposite number’s run-a-ball progress. Mustafa brought up the team fifty with a cut for four off Safyaan Sharif in the ninth over, and with Ali Evans’ first over going for sixteen, including three consecutive boundaries from Laxman Sreekumar, UAE moved ahead of the required run rate for the first time.

But Evans’ second was to bring the breakthrough, Sreekumar edging through to Matthew Cross for 28. With Con de Lange tying up one end, Mustafa continued to take the attack to the seamers in often spectacular stlye, an extraordinary flat-batted smash through cover off Evans lingering in the memory. The Carlton bowler was to have the last laugh in that battle, however, as Mustafa, having reached 43, was spectacularly caught by Berrington at point to leave UAE 79-2 in the sixteenth.

With UAE having fallen behind the required run rate two wickets quickly fell after drinks as they tried to regain some momentum. First the dangerous Shaiman Anwar (9), having hit de Lange over long-on for a maximum, perished to a tumbling Josh Davey trying to repeat the feat over long-off before Mohammad Shahzad (28), having struck two lusty sixes himself off Leask, found himself run out as Muhammad Usman called for a quick single having turned the ball straight to de Lange at backward point.

Rameez Shahzad, playing his first competitive ODI since 2008 and fresh from his 74* in the abandoned I-Cup match in Ayr, joined Usman in the middle and the two brought up UAE’s 150 in the twenty-ninth over. With the required rate now pushing ten, however, Usman (34) drove straight to de Lange at long-on to give Sharif his first wicket before Naveed skied to Leask at long-off for his second. After his costly drop of Coetzer and erratic performance with the ball, for Naveed it was a thirteenth ODI he will look to forget.

The game was rapidly slipping away from UAE, and with Shahzad (15) falling to the second ball after drinks, caught behind off de Lange, their last chance had gone. Despite Javed enjoying himself with some big hits, particularly off Evans who again tended to stray towards bowling too short, the remainder of the innings fell apart in a series of lofted catches, UAE eventually being bowled out for 229 in 43.3 overs.

For Scotland, although questions remain over the balance of their bowling attack, it was a margin of victory that reflected their superiority in all areas of the game. As he prepares his team for the second match, however, UAE coach Paul Franks will be left with considerably more worrying thoughts to ponder.

ICC World Cricket League Championship Standings:

table

Forthcoming Fixture:

Scotland vs UAE 16 August, Grange, Edinburgh (Reserve day 17th) 10:45am

Entry is free of charge

 

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